Sunday, April 28

Make Something Monday: The Easy Fold

I have a well known love and hate relationship with the typical fold and send letter.  On a good note, they take less paper because they are their own envelope.  And they are easy because they are a single sheet of paper, but I often find their space limiting and boring.  I tried to jazz this one up just a bit, but it still retains that air of simplicity.

First off, you will need a sheet of thinner scrapbooking paper.  Save your beautiful heavy stuff for other projects and pick out some of the thin, not as nice paper for this.  Why, you ask?  Well if you bend the heavy nice stuff it breaks and bends all weird.
 Fold this up and open it back up.  Try to get the sides equal to bend to meet in the center.
 Grab a ruler and divide the sheet as you want along the seams.  I chose this pattern.

 Number the squares to help you person know where to read.  I also added a gift tag that I used the envelope for a different project, as something the recipient could flip open and start there.
I decided to tuck an envelope on the interior to carry small stickers and such to the recipient.

All you need to seal it up is a little washi tape!  And maybe a label on the other side and off it goes!

Not too hard right?  You can do it!

Saturday, April 27

Where to Find Pen Friends

First off I want to say this is not an all inclusive list, this is just from my own experiences!  I could not even try to list all the possible ways of finding a pen pal! 
On ocassion though, somebody new finds their way into the wonderful world of mail.  My first advice is to be patient! 

SendSomething:  This is a nice network where you list your interests and make a short profile about yourself.  People can send to whoever on the site.  If you do not stay active, you will be removed from the database.  So far i have found quite a few folks to write here.

Postcrossing: Mostly this site is geared toward the exchange of postcards around the world.  On ocassion, you will see that somebody requests a pen pal.  And on ocassion, you just happen to start a dialogue.  I have 3 pen friends from the site, not a lot in the 2.5 years I have been on.  I could have had more, but I am approaching my max number.    People are always asking me about safety, I do want to say I feel the site is fairly safe. 

SwapBot:  A site that allows people to do exchanges of packages or material.  Mailing is at the core of the site.  I personally am not on their, but I have several pen friends who are.

Referral from a Friend:  No joke!  I have one pen friend from this method.  I mentioned to a friend and she said she had a different friend really into letters, and so it goes.

There is the recent addition of the League of Extraordinary Pen Pals which looks fun, but I again feel as though I have more than my share of good mail coming in these days.

The Missive Maven has a list as well on her blog.

Please feel free to add your ideas below as well too!  The places to find people to write to seems to be growing yearly.

Happy Writing!


Wednesday, April 24

Video Fest

I found this interesting video about how stamps are made in the USA.  Since I haven't had the time to keep up with my frequent posts this week, I am going to let the video do the talking and hope you enjoy!

Here's to pretty stamps on pretty mail!


Monday, April 22

Make Something Monday: The Clipboard Letter

This is a simple project for those epic letters that you might write.  These are also an exercise in creative expression.

Gather your stickers, stamps, some ribbon, and miscellaneous this and that together.

I chose to fold an 8.5 x 11 in half and go from there, but you are welcomed to make this on a smaller scale.
 I then grabbed some thin sheets of newsprint paper to attach to the inside of the under sheet.  I hole punched through all of them at once.
 Grab that ribbon or brads or whatever and tack it down.
 I then collaged the front of the card with sticky paper, washi and stamps.
And here is a view of the interior.  I embellished with stickers and stamps. Now I have several pages that can be flipped through to write an epic letter on and it closes like a book cover over a clipboard.

Go forth and write a long, long letter!

Sunday, April 21

Kreate-A-Lope: A Review

Hello all!  First off, I meant to get this post up sooner but what a beautiful weekend to get the garden in shape, so I will have a slight delay in the Make-Something-Monday series to give this some air time on the blog.

I was asked to review a product for a start-up company and usually I do not except, but . . . it was a quick envelope maker!  When Nick mentioned a free sample, I was all there!
 Below is the plastic piece.  The great thing about it is that you can see where your front is.  Plus it is super quick. 
I embedded the video on how-to below.
I have to say I loved the product!  I recommend that you consider supporting the maker.  He is involved with raising funds to make a wider variety of envelope templates using the GreenSneakers site.  For complete information, please check out the link here.
And just so you know, I know most of the videos on youtube show people making envelopes from the center of a page.  It works best that way, but you can do it on the edge.  I made a stack of Chinese menu envelopes to work out the kinks, and I only had to trim the edges on a few of them. 

Take a look, make your own decision!
My Best,

Saturday, April 20

Spring Cleaning Giveaway!

And the winners, chosen by the random number generator, are B.Lee, Kelsey,
and TMC!
I will be contacting these individuals and getting addresses for those that I do not already have.  Thanks to all those who entered!

My Best,

Friday, April 19

Oops! I Did It Again: Retail Therapy

Well I gone and did it!  I broke my "no more new stationery this year" rule.  Things were going along so well.  I was doing, well . . .um . . . okay there were a few slips before this but all thrift store related and do those REALLY count?  But when a girl gets stressed, you cannot blame for seeking comfort in a few small purchases, and since this girl has size too big feet and fashion sense that includes wearing yoga pants everywhere, well she spends her money on pretty paper!  And at a discount no less! 
I went to TJ Maxx, "just to see" and walked out with a shopping cart full of  . . . .
 Paper pads on clipboards with pens!
 A canister full of Papyrus postcards!
 Keep Calm and Write on pad!
 Taxi's on grid paper!  Really cute!
 Some plain but cute cards and so far each thing has cost $4.99 each.  Not bad, I have had better deals.  Such as . . .
These art postcards - 2 boxes for $3 total!  They had weird shapes and were by a fashion designer, but the name slips me today.  I think they were a score.

I hope these hold me over for a long time!

Wednesday, April 17

In the Mail Box

It's been awhile since I showed some of the incoming so here we go! 
 A nice collage that Tara had turned into a postcard.
 A postcrossing from Holland
 A postcrossing from Russia
 A postcrossing from the Ukraine
 A postcrossing from Taiwan
 A postcrossing from the Netherlands, She included a lot of labels for me to use in collages and mail art.
 A nice card from my old friend.
 A card from Malyss! 
 From a new pen friend.  Stickers are the way to my heart!
 A nice note from my friend WD.  Including a nice New Years envelope.
 A new pen friend.  I like the old card she sent!
 Nancy sent me a card she made and a bundle of menus to reuse!
 JarieLyn made a nice envelope and wrote a good letter.
A collaged envie and some chainsaw mail from Tara!  I often get my own chainsaw out and work on my brush out back.
That's all for today!
Wishing you many letters and happiness!

Tuesday, April 16

Where to Go When the Words Don't Flow?

When you are looking for fresh topics to jazz up a letter, what are your go to's?
My topics I often cover are everyday life related.  People ask about the house and the blog.  Some delve into the mysteries of my earlier childhood experiences, while others like to discuss movies and television.  But when you and a new pen friend are trying to find common footing, what are your go to questions? 

My top three are
How do you like your chocolate?
What are you reading?
Make me a Pandora station that says you (3-5 bands)

But I will confess, as a question asker, I suck!  I tend to allow for free flowing conversation when some might prefer a gentle prod in a defferent direction, so I ask, what topics do you turn to keep the ink flowing?

Inquiring minds what to know!

Monday, April 15

Would You Pay to Stop Getting Mail??? - Um, NO!

I ran across this little video segment and all I could think was why? 
There is a new service that would digitize all your mail for you for $5 so you do not need to touch it.

I get the idea, but I hope that it does not catch on because I do not think the digitized mail has the same intrinsic quality as the tangible.  Plus how are you going to change that trash in recycled mail art???  Not for me even after I win the lottery and become a jet setting not so starving mail artist whose only worry is from which country do I want to send my mail from.  Aahhh, the dreams we dream . . .


Sunday, April 14

Make Something Monday: The Flapper

Hello all!
I had a creative burst this weekend after watching Extreme Homes on HGTV.  I did not get too funky but I liked the unusual architecture and think that some of those ideas can be borrowed for letter construction.

So today we are going to be adding flaps to the traditional note card and allow for some surprises!  This is a big project, but allows for a lot of individuality.
 I started with a simple A2 card (half of an 8 x 11, folded in half)
 I cut a piece of paper slightly smaller than the card for the front.
 I decided to use these awesome but ghoulish stickers to offset the overtly cute paper.
 This is the front of the card after I got done.  And as a side note, I must say it is getting easier and easier to throw things together!
 I made a flap with the same paper and used a roller glue, but tape and glue could be used to adhere it to the inside of the card.
 I took another piece of the same paper and a coin envelope to make a pocket.
 I did want the flap to be seen, so I opted to add ribbon to it that you can fold inside the envelope and the recipient can pull the ribbon to pop out the contents of the envelope.
 Here it is all adhered together with another monster friend.
 And now I put it on the inside of the flap.
 I made 2 flaps that fold out in opposite directions.
 I used ribbon on the back of the other flap.  If you write a long enough letter and have an extra sheet, you can tuck it in here.
 Now I recommend EVERYBODY invest in on of these cheap sets of letters so you can make your own messages.
My card says, "Get Weird or . . . I feed you to my Monsters!

Consider making these interactive type letters!  They are a great surprise and actually do not take a lot of time.  You could even just go flap crazy if you wanted.  Even without much of a plan, I made this while taking pictures in less than an hour.

Off to feed your mailboxes and my monsters!

Stationery Giveaway Reminder

Hello all!
I just wanted to post a reminder about the staitionery giveaway.  Drawing is coming up next weekend.  If you have not seen this post and are interested in some goodies, please check here!

And for those of you also spring cleaning, good luck!  Hopefully you can debulk and simplify your stash!

I am off to enjoy the sunshine and get ready for tomorrow's post.  What to make?? : )

Happy Mailing! 

Saturday, April 13

Some Vintage Postal Goodies

I like the History Channel.  There I said it!  I have the channel in my favorites setting along with Syfy, HGTV and the Food Network.  If that brands me a big geek than so be it!  I will not back down, no sir!   I will continue to DVR wonderful shows like Cupcake Wars and Flea Market Flip. On rare occasions, my interests meet and you get a video montage of awesome!
Here's some postal loveliness from American Restoration
I know where a few early pieces of Postal America are for sale, but so far my practical side has not allowed my "I want it" side to buying any.  I will be happy to just watch others and ogle their goodies!


Friday, April 12

The Mail Must Go On!

Well I am hoping that my life is settling for a bit and I can breathe some sighs of relief.  I actually spent much of the time I would be putting towards blogging into catching up on letters, and I must say I got down to one left!  Then I arrived home to a full mailbox and the cycle continues.  (Insert resigned but grinning from ear to ear smiley face here).

Do not get me wrong, I love the contact I have with many people and consider some of my deepening letter friendships to be quite rewarding!  I am lucky to have a vast support group made up of folks who known me a long time to newer friendship to friendships that are just beginning paper.  Some have spread from paper to meeting up in real life!

I also want to throw out a thanks again to the StampTramps for jumping in last second on a fill in Make Something Monday.  Everybody else had had time and a bit of previous knowledge of their impending posts, but the StampTramp did not and delivered a good quality how to!  I'll say it again and again, it is good to be a part of a creative crafting group!

Finally, I am working on some fun things and ideas to continue the blog with, but I would love to hear from folks out there on what you think works and would like to see more of, and even what I could leave out.  I have contemplated stopping posting the incoming, I feel like such a boaster at the quantity even though postcrossing greatly inflates the numbers received.  Please leave a comment or 2 on the subject!  I will of course take into consideration my abilities, time available, and talents when applying them to your ideas.

Thanks so much for your support reading the blog and for those of you who have touched my life in more tangible ways!

Wishing you a full mailbox and a fuller life!

Tuesday, April 9

Good Idea! Confetti Letter

I read this post today about writing a confetti letter and I liked it enough to not only write one myself but to put the idea forth to all of you.  Please read David's blog on the details.
For a quick summary, you use scraps of paper and write thoughts on them.  Not a true letter as there is no page numbers.  I have received a letter like this before, but did not realize it had a name and just thought my friend was rambling, but knowing her it probably  was just randomness.  Everybody needs a quirky friend!

On a side note, there are some big and not great things going on in my life that may impede me from posting much, please be patient.

Now go write something!


Sunday, April 7

Make Something Monday: TMC Guest Post on Adventures in Sticker Making

First off, I put a big thank you out there to my friends who have helped me out with guest posts!  I have a lot going on in my personnel life and appreciate the help.  Please thank TMC at Return to Rural for this post.

Now a word from TMC:

One Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago, I got out my notebook and a collection of ingredients and tried my hand at making my own stickers. I thought I’d share with you the recipes I used and the results that I achieved.

I started off with two recipes... one with gelatin and one without. I wanted to be able to offer a vegetarian option for folks who’d rather avoid the gelatin. I also wondered if the glue version would produce a finer mucilage that would stick better. The recipes are from the Internet though I could not tell you where. Things get all jumbled in my notebook. I took notes as I searched and these are what I came up with.

Both recipes make mucilage, that is, moisture-reliant stickiness. Once you have applied the mucilage to the paper, you let it dry completely. When you’re ready to stick your sticker, you wet it using spray bottle, sponge, or tongue.

Recipe 1:

6 tbsp white vinegar
1 oz (4 packets) unflavored gelatin
1 tbsp pure lemon extract

Bring vinegar to a boil. Turn heat to low. Add gelatin and stir til completely dissolved. Remove from heat and add extract.

Pro tip: leave the mucilage in the small pot as you use it. It sets up VERY quickly and becomes un-paintable before you know it if you transfer it to a bowl. This would be especially tricky if you were working on painting multiple sheets of stickers at one time.

This recipe makes a bunch of mucilage so you’ll want to have all your to-be stickers nearby, ready to be painted. I’d venture to guess that this recipe would make a LOT of 8 x 11 sheets.


Recipe 2:

1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp white glue

Mix well.

This recipe easily does 2 coats on one 8 x 11 sheet of paper with just a little bit left over.

The end result tastes very vinegary so I’d say if you plan on licking it to stick it, you might want to add just a drop or two of some kind of taste extract (lemon, peppermint, whatever you have). 

For both recipes I used a single sheet of plain printer paper, a foam brush, and a sheet of newspaper. I placed the paper on the newspaper and used the brush to paint on the mucilage on the back of the sheet of paper. I’d recommend applying at least 2 coats to the back of each sheet, but try to let each coat dry before applying the next. If you use plain printer paper, you’ll quickly learn that it will curl up on you as it dries. Once your mucilage is totally dry, you can put the paper between the pages of a heavy book and it will straighten your paper out again.

Pro Tip:  Though the plain printer paper worked ok, if I were to try this project again, I would try it with a higher grade of paper, maybe even something with linen in it. I also saw a few places online that suggested putting clear packing tape on the front of your sticker, to add some stability to it, and some shine! I made two sheets of logos from my favorite charity to include on my correspondence. I think that both the recipes stick well and should you find yourself with all the ingredients, I’d encourage you to give making your own stickers a try!

Thursday, April 4

Spring Cleaning! Time for a Give Away

As many of you who have been following my blog know, I have a stationery problem.  Well recently I decided I really needed to let some things go, and what better way to do that then to offer some boxes of randomness up to all of you! 

That's right 3 boxes, 3 winners!

The boxes are old stationery boxes that I filled with a variety of cards, paper, stickers, and ????  The boxes are random sizes and all contain something different, so please follow the few rules below for entry

1) Be a follower of this blog
2) Be from the USA or its territories, (sorry postage is killer and my house is a fixer)
3) Leave a comment and I will hold a random drawing on April 20th

I need some way to contact you, so you may leave a second unpublished comment if you so choose with an email or address.

With that,  I hope you throw your hat into the ring!  Good Luck!
My Very Best,

p.s. be patient on seeing your posts appear, I am out of town this week(end) with hit or miss internet access.